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Who is ISIS in Sinai Peninsula?
02:48 - Source: CNN

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Investigators have yet to establish the cause of the crash

ISIS has previously attacked in Belgium and France

The group has claimed responsibility for the crash but provided no corroboration

CNN  — 

Was Saturday, October 31, 2015, the day ISIS emerged as a global terrorist threat?

That’s when a Russian airliner broke apart in midair and crashed into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, killing all 224 people aboard. If ISIS blew up the plane, as it claims, it would arguably be the most significant terrorist attack since 9/11.

Until now, ISIS has been known primarily for devising ever-more brutal ways to kill hostages taken in the Middle East, as well as for the massacre of perhaps 1,700 Iraqi soldiers in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit in 2014.

But the downing of a civilian airliner – the most prized target of international terrorist groups – would mark the announcement by ISIS that it was capable of harming civilians almost anywhere in the world. The group would be laying down a global marker, much as the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden first demonstrated the global reach of al Qaeda.

ISIS had already attacked internationally

There were already signs ISIS was emerging as an international force.

Russian and Egyptian personnel inspect the wreckage of Metrojet Flight 9268 in Sharm el-Sheikh.

In January, Belgium thwarted a major gun and bomb plot by ISIS recruits believed to have been directed by the leadership of the group in Syria. In April, French police arrested a French radical directed in Turkey by French ISIS recruits to attack a church in Paris.

A suspected ISIS gunman trained in Libya killed 30 British tourists and others on a Tunisian resort beach in June. ISIS also claimed a gun massacre of Western tourists at a Tunis museum in March, but it’s still unclear whether ISIS or a local al Qaeda affiliate carried out that attack.

In August, another suspected ISIS recruit attempted to attack a high-speed passenger train on the Belgian-French border but was overpowered by three Americans. And in October, two suicide bombers whom Turkish investigators suspect were dispatched by ISIS in Syria killed more than 100 people at a rally in Ankara, Turkey.

Fears over ISIS’ international reach have been compounded by the fact that European officials estimate up to 6,000 European extremists have traveled to fight in Syria and Iraq, and 1,500 of them have returned home.

Still, the downing of a civilian airliner would usher in a significantly higher global prof